If you've been blogging for as long as I have, there is a huge chance you'll have some stale content. So, what is stale content? You know that content you haven't touched or seen in years. It's collecting dust, but you are still paying to host it. It's from the land before time when you first started writing content. You haven't gotten rid of it, but it's not precisely serving you.
We want all of our content to pull it's weight if possible. Most blogs have at least some content that doesn't perform well. The more we can update those, though, the better. Today I am going to teach you how to take that low-performing content and make it perform for you again.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
1. Create A Habit Of Going Through Old Posts
If you want to refresh stale content, you have to make a habit of going through old posts. I have about 300 articles on this blog at the moment. What's your number? Divide that up, so it's easier to accomplish. I am striving to update about 3-5 posts a day. That number is reasonable for me. Any more and I feel exhausted.
While you are going through old posts, keep a spreadsheet if you can. A spreadsheet will help you stay on track during this grueling process.
After you've done a massive push through them all, go through a few every couple weeks. You may not need to do a full sweep, but you want to look back through every blue moon.
2. Add More Content Based On What You Know Now
I wrote a ton of articles in 2012-2014. While I had some knowledge back then, I've had a ton of life experiences since that time. If you want someone to view an article from 5+ years ago, you've got to keep it fresh with new information.
How can you make this old article relevant to someone today? It won't be easy, but ask yourself this question: How would I write the post today if this was my latest article?
For some posts, you may find yourself gutting the article and starting from scratch. Some articles only need a touch-up.
3. Reformat Your Articles
When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about properly utilizing headers. Often my earlier posts aren't as organized because when I wrote them, it felt more stream of consciousness. When I am refreshing stale content, it's important for me to step up my formatting and make my posts more readable. Now I am a bigger fan of white space, so I try to add more of that to my old blog articles.
4. Do A Spelling/Grammar Check
I don't know about you, but my spelling/grammar sucked when I first started blogging. I mean, it wasn't the worst, but I wasn't winning any awards with it. Plus, I've since discovered Grammarly which helps all of my articles tremendously. I like to send all my old articles through Grammarly when updating them.
5. Check For Broken Links
The internet has likely changed a ton since you started your blog. Links change, and things that used to matter, don't. Go through every link on the page to make sure it still works. Even internal links need to be tested if you've ever deleted a post or the URL for that post has been changed.
6. Add More Links To Other Pieces On Your Blog
Interlinking your articles is a great strategy for search engine optimization. It does both your refreshed and new posts good to interlink content. Google will appreciate the time you put into this.
One of my favorite plug-ins for this is Inline Related Posts. With this plugin, you can create inline links to certain articles, or you can add the shortcode for an inline related post. When you add the code for an inline related post, it will gather a link based on the category your blog is in. So, if the blog you update is in the freelancing category of your blog, the plugin will pull another post in that category. This is a great way to quickly add internal links to a post without trying to remember your entire archive.
You can see an example of this plugin in action above.
7. Add Affiliate Links
Next, it's time to monetize those old articles. One of my favorite ways to do that is through affiliate links. There are affiliate programs for everything it seems. Some affiliate programs even offer a pretty hefty affiliate percentage. Share a few relevant affiliate links through all your old content. This way, if people happen across your older content, they can buy from you. Don't go overboard. A few strategically placed links can boost your strategy.
8. Refresh Pictures In The Content
If you've moved from platform to platform as I have, there is a huge chance you have some dead pictures on your old stale content. Refresh all those images with new, on brand ones. At a minimum, I like to add a Pinterest image and a featured image to all of my blog content.
9. Add A Lead Magnet To The Post
Another excellent way to make your content work for you is to add a lead magnet. You don't need a post specific lead magnet. Instead, I would encourage you to make category-specific lead magnets for the various categories on your blog. These lead magnets don't need to be extensive. They could be as simple as a checklist. Once you have these category-specific lead magnets, add them to every post in that category as you are refreshing your content.
I use ConvertKit to deliver all of my lead magnets. ConvertKit starts at $29 a month, but they make it super easy to create and share a variety of lead magnets with your audience. MailChimp is another excellent option, but they make it more challenging to have multiple opt-in opportunities.
10. Reshare The Post On Social Media
Once you have saved your post, you are ready for the final step, sharing it on social media! I love to tweet out the post to my audience, utilize my Tailwind Tribes, create some Facebook buzz around it, et cetera. It's all about drumming up the hype for it again. Get your content back out there, and people will start to notice it again.
Content marketing is about more than producing content until your fingers fall off. You have so much content, and I don't want it to fall into obscurity because you haven't posted it in a few years. Go back through your archive, update posts, and make them relevant again. Your readers today will find value, even in the older content.